googlef87758e9b6df9bec.html A Sure Word: Answering the 10 Questions Every Christian Must Answer: Conclusion

Friday, October 22, 2010

Answering the 10 Questions Every Christian Must Answer: Conclusion

It's time to wrap up this series. This will be my last post on this video.

After having asked all 10 questions, the video spends a few more minutes exploring how these questions might be answered if God were truly imaginary. It is at this point the video really looses any credibility it might have had remaining. It begins it's closing monologue with perhaps the most egregious example of a No True Scotsman argument that I believe I have ever seen. Here is the text from the video (italicized and blue):

We have looked at 10 fascinating questions.” How self congratulatory.

In order to believe in God, you have had to create all sorts of strange rationalizations and excuses. If you are an intelligent, college-educated person, all of these excuses and rationalizations probably make you feel uncomfortable. If you think about it honestly, using the critical thinking skills that you learned in college, you have to admit that your answers to these questions make no sense at all.” Note the not-so-subtle implication that “If you are an intelligent [person],” you will see that believing in God makes no sense at all. Like I said; it's a textbook No True Scotsman.

Now let me show you something remarkable. What if you instead assume that God is imaginary? A funny thing happens... The answers to every one of these questions make complete sense. Just look at all ten questions as an intelligent person...” My goodness! How more blatant can it be? The video is literally saying, “Stop thinking like a Christian and look at the questions like an intelligent person.” Give me a break! I might have mistook this for parody but I'm sure it's meant to be serious.

After spending so much time positioning the No True Scotsman argument, the video digresses into a false dichotomy. A false dichotomy is where someone presents two alternatives as though they are the only options when in reality other options exist. In this case, the false dichotomy is between an irrational belief that God is real and the rational belief that God is imaginary. Another option exists – namely a rational belief that God is real. In fact, for many of the questions, the idea that God is imaginary is possibly the weaker and more irrational option. Let's look at a few:

#1) God doesn't heal amputees because He is imaginary. Is that really the better alternative? Here an analogy: Doctors supposedly heal sick people yet there are still sick people. What if I said, “there are sick people in the world because doctors are imaginary?” Does that make any sense? There are a lot of reasons why there are still sick people. Some may have not gone to the doctor. Some might have been to the doctor and are just not better yet. Some might have a disorder that doctors can't heal. There are a lot of reasons why there are still sick people. If doctors were imaginary it would explain why there are sick people but it is the least attractive explanation. Likewise, saying that God is imaginary might explain why He doesn't heal amputees but that doesn't it make it the best alternative.

#2) There are starving kids in the world because God is imaginary. Like I said in my response to this question, this would be like me saying, “There are starving kids in the US because the President is imaginary.”

To question #3), “Why does God demand the death of so many innocent people?" the video's (supposedly) intelligent response is, “Because God is imaginary, and the Bible was written by ridiculous, ruthless men rather than any sort of a loving being.” When it comes to questions of right and wrong, I don't think the makers of this video realize the extreme consequence of believing God is imaginary. If there is no God, then who decides what is right or wrong? Does society decide? If so, then on what grounds do they call these ancient men “ridiculous [and] ruthless”? What makes us right and them wrong? If there is no absolute standard of right and wrong, then all morality is subjective. Neither would there be anything wrong with owning slaves (question #5) except that we don't do it now. We can't say we are right and they were wrong because, without God, there are no moral absolutes.

Another puzzle is this: if men wrote the Bible, why would they create a moral code that no one is able to keep? I mean, if I were to set myself up as the head of a new religious movement, I wouldn't invent a set of religious instruction that even I couldn't keep. In my opinion, that doesn't make any sense.

#4) The Bible contains so much anti-scientific nonsense because God is imaginary. I believe it makes far more sense to believe that the universe had a Creator rather than to claim there is no Creator. In order to believe God is imaginary, a person must believe that matter has either existed eternally (a divine-like attribute) or that it was created. If it was created, then did it create itself? If not itself, then what created it? Where did that creator come from? Still another creator? You can see the dilemma here. Ultimately, there must have been a first creator. But in any event, matter can be neither eternally old (a violation of the second law of thermodynamics) nor can it be naturally created (a violation of the first law of thermodynamics). To believe there was a Creator makes far more sense, scientifically, than to believe there is no creator.

I could go on but you get the idea. Claiming that God is imaginary isn't the missing piece of some cosmic puzzle that suddenly explains everything.

After going through the 10 questions from the “God is imaginary perspective”, the video once again makes a No True Scotsman claim:

“Our world only makes sense when we imagine that God is imaginary. This is how intelligent, rational people know that God is imaginary. When you use your brain, and when you think logically about your religious faith, you can reach only one possible conclusion... The “god” that you heard about since you were an infant is completely imaginary.”

Excuse me while I have a chuckle. It's like watching a 10-year-old explain the meaning of life. It's nothing but child-like arguments about serious issues. Yet the logical fallacies and sophomoric arguments were merely a crescendo leading to this amazing climax:

Now let me ask you one last question... Why should you care? What difference does it make if people want to believe in a “god”, even if he is imaginary? It matters because people who believe in imaginary beings are delusional. It matters because people who talk to imaginary beings are delusional. It matters because people who believe in imaginary superstitions like prayer are delusional. It's that simple, and that obvious. Your religious beliefs hurt you personally and hurt us as a species because they are delusional. The belief in any “god” is complete nonsense.”

There you have it folks. Christians are delusional! This is another appeal to emotion only now it's appealing to our fears. To say that someone is delusional suggests they are dangerous. Why, we could snap at any moment!! And the video makes the outrageous claim that our religious beliefs actually “hurt us as a species”! What can I say? Newton, Pasteur, Mendel, da Vinci, Kepler, and scores of others were overtly Christian; Exactly how did they hurt us as a species? How about Washington, Adams, Jefferson, and Lincoln? It seems to me they've made a few contributions to humanity. Of course, there are all those Christian organizations like the Red Cross, the Salvation Army, the Young Men Christian Association, and others; have they also hurt us as a species? But if we're going to play this game, what can be said about the tyrannical regimes of 20th century atheists: Marx, Stalin, Pol Pot, or Zedong? I would say that believing there is no God has done far more harm than good.

I know I've used a few pejoratives while discussing this video. I've called it a rant, sophomoric, and worse. But hopefully I've been able to show why all of these descriptions are accurate. After having thought about the questions and more carefully considering the comments made in the video, I might have to lower my grade for the video from a C- to a full blown D.

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Part 4

Part 5

Part 6

Part 7

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